Salt is here! The sailing adventure trip was for sure the one thing I was looking forward to the most in our leadership training program. Five days living on a boat and sailing the ocean- it doesn’t get much better.
Normally, the leadership class sails to other islands like Molokai, Lanai and Maui. Since the conditions in the channel to Molokai were really bad, we were not able to leave Oahu. A little bummed, we made our way to the harbor in Honolulu. As soon as I saw our boat, a catamaran called Naia (Hawaiian for dolphin), I was extremely excited. I couldn’t believe that we are gonna spend our next days on this boat. Boats are actually one of my happy places - I love everything about it. The peaceful atmosphere, driving on the deep water, being free from all the worldly attachments and so close to many wonders. This is a once in a lifetime experience!
Once we went through some safety checks and filling up the water, we were ready to leave. The waves were pretty big and I already enjoyed every second of it. In the afternoon I had the chance to talk to our captain James. He has a big passion for the outdoors, problem solving and travelling. He then asked me, if I want to steer the boat. I felt honored, but also uncertain what I really needed to do. After a while, I understood how the ocean, our boat and the wind worked together and I had a lot of fun. Hours later, we arrived at our first night stop, way after the ‘whistling swan’ (that was the boat of the other group - a monohull). This night we were staying on the westside of Oahu. Jayde and me started making dinner - on today's menu was beef tortillas. As a whole Ohana we debriefed the day on our catamaran. We shared the goals that we have for this trip. My goals were a lot of spiritual time, being present and taking challenges with an open mindset. Thoughts: I am endlessly thankful to be able to live on a boat. I am totally in love and I honestly want to buy a boat one day.
Mornings on our boat looked like this: We woke up at 6am, were either on breakfast preparation or dish duty, had a quiet time and then a morning swim around our boats. At 9am we started sailing. It was the most peaceful some hours. Before lunch, we had the chance to go swimming in the middle of the ocean at a deep water buoy. I was happy to go into the water, because that was the first time I felt a little nauseous. Going to swim in the deep dark sea with a strong current- I had a lot of respect doing this. We ended up jumping from the sailboat with our snorkel gear on and it was insane! There was nothing but a big black hole underneath us. It was so deep, that you couldn’t see the bottom of the sea. I felt so small and every worry felt so unimportant. I can’t describe this experience with any words, you have to see it with your own eyes. Some more sailing, awesome conversations and relaxing awaited me in the afternoon. You can’t really do that much more on a sailboat :) It was around 3 when we reached our spot for the second night: Keawaula Beach on the westside. Captain James then drove us to shore with the Dinghy and we all went for a walk along the shore. The westside of Oahu is so beautiful and untouched. I enjoyed catching up with the people from the other boat and talking story. Before sunset, we made our way back to our boats. We had dinner and tea on ‘the hammock’ how I always called the front part of our boat. It was the most beautiful setting ever with the mountains in the background. Jayde and I decided to sleep outside and take it all in. Having the full moon brighten up the scenery around us and the stars dancing above our heads was just magical. It was so simple and yet one of my favorite moments of this trip. Thoughts: This night was unreal and I can’t believe that I get to experience moments like this. I don’t need a lot to be happy. I just need nature, a boat and Jesus.
The third day, our crew was peacefully eating breakfast. Suddenly, our catamaran was surrounded by a pod of dolphins. We dropped everything, put our snorkel gear on and jumped into the cold water. Not long after that, around 50-60 dolphins were swimming underneath us! This was such an unreal experience. Swimming with dolphins has been a dream of mine since I watched Full House at age six. I had to pinch myself to be able to grasp that this was truly happening. Todays journey lead us through the windy and messy sea direction north shore. We learnt a lot about sailing this day: How to make knots, how to change direction of the chipsail, different expressions etc. Arrived in Haleiwa (It was funny seeing Haleiwa from the other side, since we spend a lot of time there in our free time), we all went to an ice cream place together, which had the best ice cream flavours! To our surprise, Kat and me then run into a friend from last year, that was visiting Oahu for a week. Always the best encounters happen here! Later that night it was time for another game night. Because the LTP class was separated into two boats, moments like these were very special. We all had a lot of fun and got to know who has a good poker face and who doesn’t ;)
Instead of a morning swim, we had a workout at Ali’is beach that morning. I wasn’t feeling too good that morning, so doing activities made me even more nauseous. I honestly think that I got land sick that day. Who knew that something like this existed?! Back on the boat, I started feeling way better and it was one of the most relaxing days ever. I journaled, read the bible, napped and enjoyed the breeze. Electric beach was the last place we anchored after some hours of sailing. Jayde, Ani and me prepared dinner for everyone and then played some more card games. I was hoping for a beautiful sunset on the last evening. While eating dinner, the colors of the sky changed and we were blessed with one wonderful sunset. Capturing the beauty with a camera was just impossible. We tried anyways. As a wrap up of the last night, we wrote affirmations for everyone in our journals. It was awesome going through the past four days and thinking about all the little moments that we had together.
Right next to where we anchored, there is a pipe running out into the ocean. The water that comes out of this pipe is warmer than the ocean, what attracts a variety of sea life. This is why electric beach is such a good spot to go snorkeling. We spent our last morning snorkeling and seeing a lot of dolphins again. While sailing back to the harbor, the waves were messy and our boat was pretty shaky. Ani and me were talking about love and relationships. Deep in our conversation, we didn’t realize how big the waves were and that a wave was about to crush on our boat and fully soak us. Luckily, we could hold onto something but we got an unexpected shower anyways. After we understood what just has happened, we couldn’t do anything else other than bursting into laughter. What a good way to end this trip.
Salt was wonderful. I completely fell in love with sailing. I even fell more in love with the water than I already was. I found peace again. I recharged. It was such a special trip to me that I will treasure in my heart forever. Something that made this trip unforgettable, was getting to know everyone in a different setting. Each person comes alive in a different way. For some it is catching a big fish after hours of waiting, going swimming at a deep-sea buoy where there is seemingly nothing but a black hole, steering the sailboat (that was me) or playing card games until midnight.
Overall, the trip was a time to gather energy for the busy month ahead of us. It was a time of supporting each other when someone wasn’t feeling well and with lots of laughter, midnight talks while night watches and encouraging each other to overcome fears. It was an incredible experience.
This trip was already a while ago as some of you might now. It has actually been 1.5 months. But since SALT was so special to me, I wanted to share my experiences anyways. To wrap the three months of leadership training up, I will do a last blogpost with all the details of my graduation and my job! Get excited for that!